In another place, a friend of mine challenged me to post a book cover (and only the cover…no reviews or explanations of why) of a book I loved every day for a week. I’m doing it because my friend is cool and I love books, but I mean…limiting myself to only 7 books and NOT gushing about them is wholly out of character and totally unfair.
Here, where I have no limits…I’m going to talk about books I love at length, and maybe for longer than a week. I’ll try not to talk about a book I’ve talked about before in a previous blog post here, and today, I’ll start with Sherman Alexie’s An Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.
I love this book because I love reading books about experiences that aren’t mine, to broaden my view of life and humanity. This book is a novel, but the author has said that it’s loosely autobiographical, about a Native American boy coming of age. It details what life is like for him living on a reservation and what it’s like for him navigating in a mostly white school. The story is compelling and emotional. It was easy to relate to and feel for Arnold. But the craft of the writing moved me almost as much as the empathy of the story.
I love Sherman Alexie’s way with words. He writes with a rhythm and a wisdom that makes the words on the page stick to your ribs like a meal full of comfort food. There is a quote from this book that made me a braver, better writer myself.
“If you care about something enough, it’s going to make you cry. But you have to use it. Use your tears. Use your pain. Use your fear.”
I used to feel embarrassed and shy writing about things I was passionate about. Love. Empathy. Friendship. Social issues and justice. And I was ashamed and afraid to write about things that caused me personal pain. I kind of felt crazy that sometimes (often) when I write, I cry over these fictional people I made up and what happens to them. But when I read this book, it made me feel way less crazy. Because if you care about something enough, it’s going to make you cry. I care. About people.
If you read this book, it will probably make you cry. And if you’re like me, it will make you want to read more things Sherman Alexie writes. His latest book is next on my to-read list, once I work through the two books I’m currently finishing. And I read his poem, Hymn, whenever I’m getting too bogged down and sad thinking about the news cycle and the state of the world.
This is looking to be a busy weekend for J and me, so these READ GOOD BOOKS posts are great to keep the blog active and not have me get too anxious about what I’m writing. For at least the next week…read some good books. These are just some of my favorites and pieces that stuck out for me and why I love them. But maybe give them a shot…or read something you love over again…or a book by an author you enjoyed that you haven’t read yet…or give something totally different a shot to see the world from a different perspective than yours and the folks’ around you.
And as always, you can read my books (which are certainly more debatable when it comes to being considered ‘good’…I’m just a dreamer who self publishes…not Sherman Alexie by any stretch). But they are available here, nonetheless.